The Amazing Spider-man (Marc Webb, 2012) 2/4
When Sam Rami’s Spider-man was released in the spring of 2002, the box-office exploded and the film world was reintroduced to the “superhero” genre. The film had two successful sequels and paved way for the decade of massive box-office superhero hits. Spider-man 2 was brilliant and the third was awful, to say the least. When a fourth one was cancelled, people began to prepare for a reboot. Why? Because that’s what American’s do, I guess. The Amazing Spider-man is an unimaginative “reboot” of the original Sam Rami version.
Spending the first hour of the film setting up the origin of Spider-man, you see Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) get left at his Aunt and Uncles (Martin Sheen and Sally Field), get bullied at school, meet Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and discover his father’s scientific past. All of this actually felt really refreshing and well laid out. Peter finds his dad’s old briefcase and discovers old scientific work dealing with cross-species breeding and the company OsCorp. This is where the film begins to get upsetting. Wandering into a lab at Oscorp, Peter runs into genetically modified spiders and one bites him. This scene felt completely unnatural and rushed. Meeting Dr. Curt Connors, Peter discovers that he worked with his father and that he is missing an arm. Using the missing information within the documents of his father’s briefcase, Peter helps Connors fill in the missing gaps of his limb regeneration experiment. Injecting himself with the serum, Connors overdoses on lizard juice and becomes a hyperactive giant lizard. Of course, he begins to attack the city and Spider-man comes to the rescue.
I am nowhere near an expert on comic book characters, though I would like to think I’m pretty knowledgeable on Batman, I can say that The Amazing Spider-man tried to draw more from the comics; for this I feel it suffers. Instead of making a fresh “reboot” of the original film, they basically took everything they didn’t include in the original, and put it in the new one. I feel that is an extremely terrible way to go about making a film. I’m sure comic book fans will adore the new film and love the way it was all put together, but the average American will have a difficult time with it. Even though the film is over 2 hours long and has a lengthy “beginning”, the little things that I enjoy about Spider-man’s character felt rushed. For example, the use of the web that he shoots from his arm was basically pushed to the side. Instead of having the web come from his body, it’s stored in canisters attached to the inside of his suit. This may be the original comic book scenario for the infamous means of transportation, but getting the webbing seemed like it was no big deal; you see what it’s made out of then bang, Spider-man is jumping off of buildings and swinging through the city. The original Spider-man spent time on the character getting used to his new abilities and that made the film feel more personal.
The most disappointing aspect of the film is the shots and camera positions. What made Sam Rami’s film so amazing and powerful was the use of the tracking shots through the city and the “wall-crawler” poses. It was such a wonder to follow behind Spider-man as he swings through the city jumping off of builds. There was never a moment in The Amazing Spider-man where the director took a second to let the audience capture the beauty that the hero can create.
The Amazing Spider-man is not a bad film and will be entertaining for most, drawing in the new generation of kids to create a favorite superhero. What won’t be beneficial to the new audience is the way the film skips over Spider-man’s new responsibility as a superhero. Peter Parker never seems to understand everything he has to take care of now. In the end, the film suffers because the power that makes Spider-man who he is, gets glazed over and never fully spotlighted. The reason I love Spider-man is because he can swing through the city and climb up walls, Sam Rami understood that perfectly, Marc Webb, not so much.